Referee Andre Marriner has apologised for sending off Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs by mistake during the Gunners’ 6-0 defeat by league leaders Chelsea.
A penalty was awarded after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain tipped Eden Hazard’s shot around a post with his hand but Gibbs was shown the red card.
Oxlade-Chamberlain seemed to tell Marriner that he was the culprit but the original decision stood.
A statement read that Marriner was “disappointed” to have made the error.
Referees’ body the Professional Game Match Officials Limited said in the statement: “Incidents of mistaken identity are very rare and are often the result of a number of different technical factors.
“Whilst this was a difficult decision Andre is disappointed that he failed to identify the correct player.
“He expressed his disappointment to Arsenal when he was made aware of the issue.”
Left-back Gibbs seemed confused at receiving the red card, protesting his innocence, along with his team-mates, before leaving the field.
Hazard’s shot was heading inches wide of goal before Oxlade-Chamberlain dived to his left to divert the ball with his fingertips.
Following his side’s 6-0 loss, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said the referee had not seen the incident.
“The ball went out and I think it’s Chamberlain who touched the ball,” said Wenger. “I don’t know who gave indication to the referee that it was handball but he has certainly not seen it.”
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, added: “It is the kind of situation where if you have a TV, the fourth official could see it was not Gibbs. Unfortunately the wrong boy came off.”
Marriner appeared to consult one of his assistants before awarding the penalty.